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Milestones in Vacuum Technology

The Perfect Vacuum Solution for Every Challenge

| Editor: Dr. Jörg Kempf

Discover the pioneers and trendsetters in the process industry with PROCESS.
Discover the pioneers and trendsetters in the process industry with PROCESS. (Source: ©stockphoto mania, ©pomah - stock.adobe.com)

Without the presence of “nothing,” literally nothing goes in many chemical processes. Whether for vaporization, sublimation, rectification, filtration, drying or conveying: Vacuum accelerates these process steps or is required to make them possible in the first place. Pfeiffer Vacuum has embodied a fascination for vacuum technology and its possibilities for more than 125 years.

From vacuum generation through vacuum measurement and leak detection to the design of vacuum systems — all around the world, the name Pfeiffer Vacuum is a byword for innovative and individual vacuum solutions. Founded in 1890 by Arthur Pfeiffer, the company had already established itself as a leading company in the field of vacuum technology by the end of the 1920s. In 1929, Arthur Pfeiffer presented over 50 (!) of his different pump types for pharmaceuticals and chemicals at a trade fair in Leningrad.

Selected Milestones in the History of Vacuum Technology:

In 1958 the world of vacuum technology was revolutionized by the turbomolecular pump, which was invented by Willi Becker, at that time Head of R&D at Pfeiffer Vacuum. As “turbopump”, it became a generic name and can be regarded as one of the most significant inventions in this field of research. In 1966, the first helium leak detector designed and developed in-house, the ASM 4, was patented and presented. The market launch of this product was another important milestone in the industry. Today, Pfeiffer Vacuum is one of the leading suppliers of leak detection technology.

In the process industry, the technologically leading vacuum pumps from Pfeiffer Vacuum have always — and continue to — set new standards. The innovation power of the company runs through all its product lines. The extensive portfolio includes rotary vane pumps, diaphragm pumps, screw pumps and Roots pumps. Here are examples of a few selected milestones: In 1973, Pfeiffer Vacuum presented (at Achema) a range of gas cooled Roots pumps with the WGK 250, thereby expanding the scope of applications for these pumps. 1996 saw the launch of the Duo M series of rotary vane pumps with magnetic couplings — the start of a phenomenal success story for this particular type of coupling, which was continued in 2003 with the Roots pumps. In 2014 Pfeiffer Vacuum presented the OktaLine Atex, the world’s first magnetically coupled Roots pump that is compliant with Atex regulations for high vacuum requirements in the chemical industry.

Today, the application focus in the process industry is increasingly shifting to low operating costs and preventive maintenance — and also in vacuum technology, the trend is moving towards Industry 4.0. Pfeiffer Vacuum in Aßlar/Germany is perfectly set up to deal with this shift.

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